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Michigan Education Savings Program Earns Top National Ranking

The Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) is one of the nation's premier college savings plans, according to a recent analysis of state-administered 529 plans by Morningstar Inc.

MESP was one of only three plans to receive a "Gold" rating. Morningstar rates plans based on four pillars: Process, People, Parent and Price.  

"To be called one of the 'best and brightest' by Morningstar is a tremendous honor and an important endorsement from a respected third-party validator that MESP is a great investment for Michiganders," MESP Administrator Diane Brewer said. "Our No. 1 goal is to deliver to families the best plan to help their loved ones pursue their dreams through higher education. MESP account owners can rest assured that we're meeting that benchmark."  

Across the four key pillars, Morningstar looked for the following in each of the 529 savings plans it evaluated: a well-researched asset-allocation approach; a robust process for selecting underlying investments; an appropriate set of options to meet investor needs; strong oversight from the state and investment manager; and low fees.

Gold-rated plans embody most or all of these attributes.

In its review, Morningstar identified MESP as "Summa Cum Laude," describing it as a "top notch plan" that "set the curve for their peers, offering exceptional investments while emulating savvy stewardship."

Managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing Inc. on behalf of the Michigan Department of Treasury, MESP has earned silver and gold ratings from Morningstar each year since 2012.

MESP, sold directly to families that are saving for college, offers 18 investment options. The plan, which marked its 20th anniversary last November, has more than 290,000 accounts with total assets exceeding $7.6 billion.

MESP is one of three Michigan Section 529 plans, named after the section of the Internal Revenue Code that allowed for their creation. Each plan offers Michigan taxpayers a state income tax deduction on contributions and potential tax-free growth on earnings if account proceeds are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

MESP can be used at any eligible college, university or trade school in the nation and some abroad for a variety of qualified higher education expenses, including tuition, fees, certain room and board costs, books, supplies and equipment required for enrollment.

More information about MESP is available at or 877-861-6377.

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Press Contacts: Danelle Gittus or Ron Leix, Treasury Public Information Officers, at 517-335-2167